Accident claimed the life of Filipino seafarer in Australia, coroner finds
SAN FRANCISCO – A Filipino seaman who fell into the water and disappeared from a container ship off Fremantle died in an accident, a West Australian coroner has found.
Samuel Leopoldo, 27, In November 2011, was working over the side of the ship MSC Siena to prepare it for entry into the port, when a wave pushed him off a ladder and left him hanging from a safety harness.
Witnesses told an inquest that Leopoldo was “pounded” against the side of the ship and appeared to be seriously injured when more large waves struck him and he disappeared into the water, according to an ABC.net.au report.
Despite a large air and sea search, his body has not been found and the inquest was conducted at the request of Leopoldo’s brother.
Coroner Sarah Linton said the evidence “strongly supports the conclusion that Mr. Leopoldo was either dead or seriously injured at the time he went into the ocean that morning.”
Linton highlighted an investigation conducted by the owner of the ship, Allseas Marine, which found “deficiencies” in its safety procedures, including the fact that Leopoldo was working at a time when the “risk posed by weather conditions was higher than it should have been.”
The company’s investigation also found questions about whether his life jacket was properly fitted and about the “preciseness” of communications between the deck crew and the bridge.
Linton said Allseas has since taken action to remedy the “defects,” including extensive training of staff in the use of personal protective equipment.
She also accepted the company’s submission that “the principal problem … was not a failure to have a safety procedure system, but a lack of implementation of that system by individuals.”
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